Time to put last weekend and all of its silliness behind us. Tonight, the 7-2-2, #7-ranked Boston College Eagles renew their once-long-running regular season rivalry with the Harvard Crimson in a rare mid-week tilt.
When last we saw Harvard, BC was easily cruising past them in the first round of the Beanpot.As is usually the case, Harvard coach Ted Donato has brought in another bumper crop of talented freshmen, but Harvard has continuously struggled to turn those recruiting successes into on-ice success, with no NCAA tournament appearances since the 2005-06 season. Remarkably, all of Harvard's top 8 leading scorers right now are freshmen or sophomores, so there's hope that they may be finally building a winning team. BC gets an up-close look at Harvard's young and talented roster tonight before heading up to Maine on Saturday night for a conference clash with the Black Bears.
BC Roster Notes
Thatcher Demko remains out with a hamstring injury and will likely miss both of this week's games, giving Brian Billett a continued opportunity to make his case for the full-time starting job. Chris Calnan is likely to return to the lineup tonight as well.
Steve Santini will serve the first of his two-game suspension tonight after being ejected from Friday's game for a clean hit.
Game Time: 7:00 PM
TV: The Ivy League Digital Network carries streams of all Harvard home games; it looks like a day pass will cost you $9.95.
Radio: WEEI 850 AM and BCEagles.com
Record: BC is 7-2-2.... Harvard is 3-4-1
BC:49 GF (1st in HEA).... 25 GA (8th in HEA).... +24 (1st in HEA)
Harvard: 19 GF (12th in ECAC)...18 GA (1st in ECAC)...+1 GD (8th in ECAC)
Last Time Out: BC went 1-0-1 in a weekend series with UMass, winning 2-1 in Amherst before tying 2-2 at home. Harvard had a really good weekend, losing by 1 to high-powered Quinnipiac before beating Princeton in New Jersey.
Common Foes: BC and Harvard have both played RPI. BC crushed RPI 7-2; Harvard is 1-0-1 against RPI, tying them 3-3 in Troy and winning 2-0 at home.
Storylines: Harvard is coming off a pretty solid weekend and is looking to continue what has been, despite their pedestrian record, a pretty decent start. Patrick McNally and Max Everson, a pair of junior defensemen, returned to the ice last week after missing a year in connection with the Harvard cheating scandal. They played a big role in stabilizing the Harvard blue line and helping them win at Princeton. A win over BC would be a huge boost to their season.
For BC, the big story is Brian Billett's extended opportunity to be The Man between the pipes.
Players to watch: Jimmy Vesey was a star on the US World Junior team last year and followed it up with an outstanding freshman season for Harvard. As a sophomore he's already got 6 goals in 8 games this year. Two freshmen are among Harvard's leading scorers, Luke Esposito and Sean Malone.
Fun Fact: BC's last trip to Harvard was also on a Wednesday night - a narrow 3-2 win in December of 2009.
Will Gaudreau continue his unreal pace in non-conference games? Can the Eagles get their offense humming again after being stymied by UMass? Will we get ECAC officials tonight instead of Hockey East? If so, will it be okay to hit?
Scoreboard Watching: Out-Of-Town Notes
This is the only game on the night in college hockey.
The Pre-Game Watering Hole
Charlie's Kitchen in Harvard Square: dollar cheeseburgers, many beers on draft, an outdoor beer garden (not so good for hockey season, but still), and the best hilariously bad karaoke in the Boston area. What's not to love? It's 25 minute walk to the arena, but there's not much over on the stadium side anyway, so it's worth the walk.
BC 4, Harvard 2: Harvard's got a pretty good team. Their losses were all to good teams (Quinnipiac, St. Lawrence, Clarkson, and Union), and they gave Quinnipiac a pretty good scare last week. However, the Eagles should be able to see off the Crimson 4 times out of 5.
Harvard is only scoring 2.38 goals per game, a continuation of a trend from last year where they only had 2.28/gm. It's hard to imagine Harvard holding BC to under 3 goals - and it's even harder to imagine BC giving up 4+ to such a low-scoring team, despite the many talented players they have on their team. So, I see BC winning this one.
Gaudreau's most eye-popping games seem to come in non-conference tilts and I expect this to be no different.
Boston College 5, Harvard 1
BC 5, Harvard 2
BC 4, Harvard 1, with an empty-netter.
BCI Prediction Standings
5 points for a correct prediction, minus one point for how far off you were from the victory margin. i.e., predicting a 4-goal win and it ends up being a 2-goal win = 3 points. Also, 1 bonus point for getting a team's score correct. Enter this week's contest by leaving your predictions in the comments.
Boston College 2, UMass 1
Boston College 2, UMass 2
Joe: UMass 3, BC 2 (1 point)... BC 6, UMass 1 (0 points) ---> 1 point
Brian: BC 6, UMass 0 (0 points).... BC 5, UMass 1 (0 points) ----> 0 points
Grant: BC 4, Umass 0 (2 points)... BC 4, UMass 0 (0 points) ----> 2 points
Dan: BC 5, UMass 2 (3 points)_... BC 5, UMass 1 (0 points)----> 3 points
AJ: BC 8, UMass 0 (0 points).... BC 9, UMass 2 (1 point) ----> 1 point
Amy C: BC 4, UMass 2 (0 points)... BC 5, UMass 1 (0 points)---> 0 points
Patty: BC 5, UMass 2 (0 points)... BC 3, UMass 1 (0 points) ----> 0 points
Tommykay: BC 5, UMass 1 (3 points).... BC 3, UMass 1 (0 points) --->3 points
BCJacket5: BC 5, Umass 1 (3 points) .... BC 4, UMass 2 (1 point)--->4 points
BCJacket5 gets the first win for non-BCI writers racking up 4 points. Nice job.
Brian - 1.5 wins (Week 3 tie, Week 4 )
Joe - 1 win (Week 1)
Conrad - 1 win (Week 2)
Grant - 1 win (Week 5)
BCJacket5 - 1 win (Week 6)
AJ - 0.5 win (Week 3 tie)
Does BC pick up the win tonight at Harvard? Will we get through the game without some sort of reviewed goal for either team? Leave your thoughts below.